NEW DELHI 26 JUNE 2022 SUNDAY `12 PAGES 24 facebook/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard EXCLUSIVE EXCERPTS https://epaper.morningstandard.in Build Your Own Memory Palace PLUS: 12 PAGES MAGAZINE Animal Attractions EXCLUSIVE VOICES anatomy of an assassination Shankkar Aiyar S Vaidhyasubramaniam N Sathiya Moorthy Shilpi Madan Sachin Kalbag Amar Bhushan Ravi Shankar Pushpesh Pant Voice of Divine Contemplation Colours of Memories Back with a Bang ‘I’ve Never Been Away’ Maha mind game takes a new turn Buzz on Shinde meeting BJP leaders to discuss govt formation; Uddhav to sack ministers S U D H I R S U RYAWA N S H I @ Mumbai EXPRESS READ LS, state bypoll results today New Delhi: The fate of Tripura CM Manik Saha, among others, will be decided on Sunday when counting of votes takes place in three Lok Sabha and seven Assembly seats spread across five states and Delhi, where bypolls were held on June 23. Counting will begin at 8 am under multi-tier security. AMID reports of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde flying in to Vadodara on Friday night and meeting BJP leaders Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis to discuss the possibility of government formation in Maharashta, the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition in the state sought to pressure the dissidents further. According to highly placed sources, former chief minister Fadnavis was seen on Friday night at Mumbai airport taking a flight to Gujarat while Shinde flew in from Guwahati. Sources in Guwahati confirmed that he took a flight at around 11: 30 pm and returned early morning. On Saturday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called a meeting of the Shiv Sena’s national executive, which authorised him to take decisions to revamp the organisation. On Monday, Uddhav is expected to recommend the sacking of six ministers, including Shinde and Gulabrao Patil, to Gover nor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Both sides continued playing mind games, with the rebels naming their group Shiv Sena (Balasaheb) with Shinde as its leader, adding they have not quit the parent party . GUJARAT RIOTS Teesta and Sreekumar arrested by Gujarat cops a day after SC verdict E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Mumbai A day after a Supreme Court bench observed that people with vested interest had sought keep the 2002 post-Godhra riots pot boiling and suggested action against them, the police arrested activist Teesta Setalvad and former Gujarat DGP R B Sreekumar in Mumbai and Ahmedabad, respectively, on Saturday. The Gujarat Police had sent its Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) to Mumbai to arrest Setalvad. The court’s ruling was widely read as pointing towards Setalvad’s NGO, Citizens for Justice and Peace, which worked extensively with many victims, including petitioner Zakia Jafri, whose family was a victim of the Gulbarg Society massacre. Setlavad was a copetitioner in the case. As for Setalvad, she lodged a complaint at Santacruz against the Gujarat ATS for assaulting her. She in her complaint, she said: “Eight-ten police personnel entered our house. I have big bruise on my left hand. I fear for my life.” Earlier in the day, the Ahmedabad Crime Branch arrested former Sreekumar after Annadanam: Be a Mother to the World ECONOMY IN PERIL Punjab in deep debt trap, says govt White Paper H A R P R E E T BA J WA @ Chandigarh Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray comes out of Sena Bhavan in Mumbai after a party meeting on the crisis on Saturday | PTI Parallelly, a technical battle was being fought with Deputy Speaker Narhari Jirwal rejecting a no-confidence motion against him sought by the Shinde camp as it was sent via a random email address and was not submitted in person to the Speaker’s office. In a counter-attack, the deputy speaker’s office issued disqualification notice against 16 rebel Sena MLAs. They will have to appear in person to present their case or face disqualification. “We are following all legal procedures. The advocate general’s opinion was also sought by us,” said a per- ‘Not spending money’ son privy to the development. However, the rebels refused to blink. One of them, Deepak Kesarkar, said the deputy speaker was violating the law. He said the Shinde has the majority of MLAs, so their side should be heard. “If the deputy speaker does not listen to us, then we will approach the court and request the governor to ask the Maha Vikas Aghadi to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly he added. ,” Meanwhile, Sanjay Raut claimed that the rebel ministers will lose their posts “in 24 hours” and the process had already started. P8 Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday dismissed the claim of Opposition parties that the state government is shelling out money on the rebel MLAs from Maharashtra to take care of their food and accommodation. Security beefed up With tempers running high among Sena workers, Mumbai police has deployed cops at the offices and residences of political parties and leaders. Prohibitory orders under Section 37 of Mumbai Police Act will remain in force till July 10. ROMANCE OF WIMBLEDON: DJOKOVIC DEFENDS TITLE, SWIATEK IN THE HUNT Serbian Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will reignite their famed rivalry at the All England Club starting from Monday. RECORD PLAYER AND HER QUEST TOP THREE SEEDS: WOMEN Swiatek’s current winning streak of 35, which encompasses six tournament titles in a row and is tied for the longest by a woman this century. 1 2 3 NO RANKING POINTS Iga Swiatek Anett Kontaveit Ons Jabeur TOP THREE SEEDS: MEN 1 2 3 Novak Dkokovic Rafael Nadal Carlos Alcaraz A record total of $50 million in player compensation includes $48.8 million in prize money. The women’s and men's singles champions will each earn $2.5 million THE Bhagwant Mann government in Punjab on Saturday admitted the state is being pushed deeper into a debt trap in a White Paper tabled in the Assembly but sought to blame , the previous governments for the economic morass. The economies of quite a few state governments are under similar stress, but it is only Punjab that has accepted it upfront. Just last week, the RBI had warned that the economies of Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Bihar are in deep trouble. But Kerala sought to rebut it. Punjab’s debt has spiraled to 2.63 lakh crore and the state has `24,351.29 crore worth liabilities to service in the immediate term, the document said, warning of an impending crisis. “The current debt indicators of the state are probably the worst in the country push, ing it deeper into a debt trap,” it claimed. The White Paper was tabled by state finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema on the second day of ongoing budget session. It quantified the current debt as a whopping 45.88% of the state GDP Debt ballooned . 44.23% in the last five years at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.6%, it added. Pointing fingers at the previous Congress government, it said they left an immediate and medium-term liability of `24,351.29 crore. Of that amount, `13,759 crore will go STATE OF CRISIS Total outstanding debt: I2,63,265 crore HOW IT BALLOONED 1980-81 I1,009 crore 2011-12 I83,099 crore 2021-22 I2,63,265 crore * 44.23% growth in debt over past five years towards non-payment of arrears of the sixth pay commission and `7,117.86 crore for power subsidy arrears. Besides, the share of central taxes plus grants from the Centre, which was 24% of total revenue receipts in 2011-12, has doubled to 46% in 2021-22. This comes as the state’s tax revenue as a percentage of total revenue receipts decreased from 72% to 48% during the same period. With the GST compensation regime ending in June, the state government would be staring down a big hole in its finances to the tune of `14,00015,000 crore in 2022-23 itself, the document pointed out. THE PURSE There will be no ranking points awarded for players at Wimbledon this year. The two professional tennis tours made the unprecedented decision to drop points from the event in response to the All England Club’s decision to bar players from Russia and Belarus. ALL EYES ON SERENA AS WELL registering a complaint and conducting a preliminary inquiry. The complaint named Sanjeev Bhatt, Sreekumar and Setalvad as accused, adding they misrepresented information, damaged the image of Gujarat and abused the legal process. According to the complaint, they had created a situation where false evidence was thrown against the SIT, the trial court, the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court. The entire operation to arrest Setalvad was kept secret. The Crime Branch sent a team to Mumbai early in the morning to catch her by surprise. Former IPS officer Bhatt is currently serving his sentence in Palanpur Jail in connection with a custodial death case. The Crime Branch is expected to arrest him any time now. SADHGURU SPEAKS Ranked a lowly 1,204 in the world and without a competitive singles match in 12 months, Serena Williams returns to Wimbledon targeting a record 24th Grand Slam title. CAREER AS A COUNSELLOR AFTER LONG FIGHT Rajasthan woman fought obstacles to pursue higher education; now provides counselling to students | P5 G-7 invite not aimed at weaning India away from Russia: US Y E S H I S E L I @ New Delhi INDIA has been invited to the G-7 Summit not because the US is keen to splinter it off from Russia, asserted US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby. The US considers India a key strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific, he said, adding that the agenda of the G-7 meeting in Germany, beginning Sunday, was “deep and diverse”. “It is not about trying to splinter it (India) off or coax it away from any other association or partnership that it might have with another country. That’s not the goal here. The goal is to unify around a set of common principles and initiatives,” Kirby said, adding that G-7 wants to advance in terms of climate change, energy and food security . Kirby made these remarks during a briefing ahead of President Joe Biden’s departure for the Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, will attend the summit. Regarding India’s increasing imports of crude from Russia, Kirby said the US lets Indian leaders speak about their economic policies. He, however, reiterated that the US wanted to exert international pressure on Russia amidst the conflict in Ukraine. “We value this bilateral relationship with India and we continue to want every country to make those decisions for themselves...but we want as much pressure put internationally on Russia as possible,” he added. India has in recent weeks spiked crude imports from Russian despite global sanctions on Moscow. US officials have conveyed to India that there is no ban on energy imports from Russia but they do not want to see a rapid acceleration. Several institutional mechanisms have been set up for the development of economic cooperation between India-Russia but the Ukraine war and subsequent sanctions placed by the West have proved to be a hurdle in trade. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar earlier hit back at the unfair criticism of the West on India’s oil purchase from Russia. RISK FACTOR Assam’s threat factor! Kaziranga facing danger from invasive plant species P R A SA N TA M A Z U M DA R @ Guwahati IT’S not just Maharashtra’s MVA dispensation that is endangered by the ‘poaching’ game being played out in an Assam hotel. Nor are lives in the eastern state under threat only from the devastating floods. The rhinos of the famed Kaziranga are also facing a fresh threat — not from the poachers but from ‘alien’ invaders. The new enemies of the rhi- no population that have caught the attention of officials in Kaziranga National Park are some invasive plant species which are threatening to destroy the habitats of the herbivores. The park has sought permission from authorities for experimental culling, cutting, slashing, uprooting and girdling of the species that are affecting its flora and fauna. These plants were discovered by the park’s field director Jatindra Sarma, Crateva Nurvala is among the ‘invasive’ plant species posing a threat to animals a botanist specialising in medicinal plants and mushrooms. “While venturing out in different areas and pockets of the park, I’ve come across certain species of plants of invasive nature, posing grave threat to the habitats of herbivores,” Sarma said. The park has planned a pilot project on a two-hectare area. A team of researchers has selected patches in different ranges of the reserve based on the in- tensity of invasion. The project is aimed at examining the extent of wet grassland areas affected by the invasive plant species and developing strategies to eradicate them. Invasive species such as Bombax Ceiba, Crateva Magna, Trevia Nudiflora and Leea Macrophylla have been shortlisted for the necessary treatment. Sarma also noticed that some were highly economic species. A poisonous plant, Cestrum Si- ur num, belonging to the Solanaceae family growing lux, uriantly in some areas, can provide an opportunity for economic uplift of residents living around the park, Sarma said. “Although a weed, it is of high medicinal value, being a source of Vitamin D-3. I have taken up the matter with a Delhi-based manufacturing company for its commercial cultivation through eco-development committees,” he added.
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